Thu, Nov 04, 2004 - Page 8 News List

China policies rife with hypocrisy

By Chiou Chwei-liang 邱垂亮

Prior to 1895, the Qing dynasty held legal claim to Taiwan for a short time. Before the Qing, the nation was controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish in succession, and in 1895 it was ceded to Japan and became a Japanese colony.

In 1945, the Republic of China took over Taiwan, and a second period of colonialization began. In 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was defeated by the communists in China, he brought his nationalist government to Taiwan and initiated 45 years of martial law.

On the death of then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) in 1988, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) began to step up the pace of democratization, lifting martial law and drawing clear lines of distinction between China and Taiwan. From this time, China and Taiwan have engaged with each other as separate nations.

As a result of the presidential election in 2000, Taiwan experienced its first democratic transfer of power with the election of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), successfully establishing Taiwan as a democratic and sovereign state.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Mao Zedong (毛澤東) established control over China, but its rule never extended to Taiwan. Taiwan had its own territory, citizens, government and diplomatic relations, conforming to all the criteria of a sovereign state as defined by the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648.

So, whether we look at this from a historical perspective, or from the perspective of the current political situation, Taiwan and China are two countries on either side of the Strait. Statements made by Beijing about Taiwan having been an integral part of China since ancient times, as well as its insistence on "one China," are nonsense and nothing more than a myth.

Historically, Taiwan has never been an inalienable part of China, and in the current political circumstances, Taiwan is clearly a sovereign nation and is not a part of China's territory.

China continually emphasizes that it must "reclaim" all its territory. But when the Soviet Union, which China once relied on for support, demanded that Outer Mongolia become independent of Mao's communist empire, the CCP said nothing in protest.

Beijing has constantly emphasized that it needs to wash away the shame of Western imperialist domination of China by reclaiming its imperial dignity and all the territory that had been taken from it by the Western colonial powers.

After World War II, with the exception of Hong Kong and Macao, the territories held by or in which the Western powers and Japan had extraterritorial powers, were all returned to China. Chinese territory won by, czarist Russia and the Soviet Union over the centuries has yet to be returned.

The Treaty of Nerchinsk, signed in 1689, was the beginning of a large-scale acquisition of Chinese territory by imperial Russia. In 1858, the Qing Dynasty was forced to sign the Sino-Russian Aihui Treaty, which ceded territory north of Heilongjiang and east of the Wusuli River to the Russians, an area measuring hundreds of thousands of square kilometers.

In 1900, Cossack forces ravaged Chinese villages on the banks of the Aihui River, massacring over 1,000 people. In 1949, Mao's China was playing second fiddle to Uncle Stalin's Soviet Union, and although China did not recognize the USSR's claim to the territories expropriated during the Czarist period, it dared not ask for their return either. In 1989, shots were fired between China and the Soviet Union over possession of a sandbank in the Amur River.

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